Trends in Reflective: Fall Roundup

At the Milan Spring/Summer 2016 Fashion Week, Jeremy Scott for Moschino surprised reflective fashion fans by sending his hommage to safety gear down the runway.

Love all this! ---> Jeremy Scott for Moschino (Photo from Milan Fashion Week website)

Love all this! —> Jeremy Scott for Moschino (Photo from Milan Design Agenda website)

Moschino is a label known for it’s tongue-in-cheek haute couture, for better or for worse, and I of course love the hi viz/reflective styles. That skirt doesn’t look bike-friendly but the rest of it does!

Instead of expensive fashion for biking, here are some more approachable, affordable reflective fashions that I have been eyeing this fall so far:

  • Tira Radiant Accessories, Iceland – Designer Alice Olivia Clarke, Canadian-born, but currently residing in Reykjavik, started designing her clever, stylish and adorable reflective accessories after realizing how hard it is to see pedestrians in the dark. Of course, The Mechanic and I are going to Iceland in early 2016, so I hope to find this brand and buy something, but for now, I’m happy watching the brand grow. The loop necklace is amazing, be sure to check out the video of it in action on her Facebook page.
  • Another fun reflective dress-up option are the wonderful Nebula necklaces from Lara Knutson. I’d sure love one of those! Or the bracelets. Check out all of her items, especially the ones with the stones.
  • I just bought this adorable and reflective kids’ backpack from Canadian company Herschel. Seriously, it’s teeny-weeny but I love it! Sometimes you just don’t need a full-size backpack. I bought classic gray, but there is also a lavender version and a blue version.
  • However…. now that I have a cute mini-backpack, Bookman has teamed up with German company Notabag to create a useful hybrid totebag/backpack that is fully reflective. What?!??!? This is on my Christmas list for sure! (Hopefully The Mechanic is reading this….).  I love Bookman products anyway, and this is another win-win item, since it can be used by anyone. We walk to the grocery store, so this would be brilliant in the winter (pun intended, of course) for added visibility. I don’t trust the drivers around this area.

    Bookman reflective bag - brilliant!

    Bookman reflective bag – brilliant!

  • My aunt got a pair of Berne Mev reflective shoes, inspired by me, of course! I had no idea Berne Mev made reflective shoes, although to be honest, it’s not a brand I’ve paid much attention to. I hunted around and had a hard time finding any left that I like. Alas, at $90, I probably won’t get these, but I love the idea!
  • In the sports clothing category, Athleta has a few pairs of reflective running tights. With a fleece lining, I can see wearing these under skirts and dresses well into deep winter, then taking them off once I arrive at the office. Having the design go all the way down the leg (at least, that’s what appears to be going on in that pattern), means that the important and fun reflective bits would always show.
  • Title Nine has a pair of pants that claim to be reflective but I’m not 100% sure how reflective they are. The Downtown Velo Pant claims to have reflectivity on the “down low” but I only see a bit of reflective piping on the calf – I had hoped the print fabric was reflective. Oh well.

I love seeing all the different way that designers are incorporating reflective materials into their work. Of course, this is not an exhaustive list, and there are other fun ways to make yourself more visible in the dark hours. If you run across something I haven’t seen yet, please share! Happy Flashing! Being Flashy


Product Review: Bookman Magnetic Reflectors

I was so excited to tell you about my cool new Bookman magnetic reflectors, but then I lost mine tonight. Both of them. They were on the cuffs of my coat before I went to the event after work, then after I’d left, I realized they were missing. Somewhere they must be magnetized to the couch or floor where I’d left my coat. I’m very sad by this. I hope a local bike shop decides to carry them, so I can buy a new pair. Bookman Reflectors_1 Bookman Reflectors_2

I can tell you what they were, however! I don’t remember how I first came across them (Twitter, probably), but they are a very new product from Bookman, the Swedish company that makes cool bike accessories. You are probably most familiar with their square bike lights. The reflectors are really cool, flexible strips of reflective material on one side, red fuzzy stuff on the inside, with magnets on each end, allowing them to magnetize to themselves. This means they can clip on a sleeve, collar, lapel, pant hem, whatever you want. They are also shown around a bike top tube, but they didn’t work on my bikes. Bookman Reflectors_3 Bookman Reflectors_4I liked them on my cuffs, because I thought it would be more visible for signaling. Also, as shocking as this is, my midweight coat is black, that is, not very visible, so whatever I can tastefully add to it to make it more visible, the better. I also tried them on the back of this coat as well, on the faux belt. I’m sure that worked fine, and was potentially a safer location than my cuffs! Bookman Reflectors_6I had knocked one of the reflector clips off my cuff the first day I wore them, probably when I pulled my purse off my shoulder, so I should have known better. I had thought I’d try them out as skirt clips, too, just to see how they stayed on. Now all I can say is that might not have been a good idea either.

I am disappointed to have lost these fun clips! I hope whomever finds them appreciates them properly. I wouldn’t discourage you from getting a set, but I would caution you – be careful where you place them!  Bookman Reflectors_5Postscript – After writing and scheduling this post, I found my reflectors magnetized on the inside of my desk locker when I got to work in the morning! Huzzah! Still – keep an eye on them if you get a set!

Iladora, Head to Toe

It was a very exciting weekend, and not because of Halloween. The Mechanic and I went back to IKEA, my Bookman reflector clips arrived from Sweden, and I made my reflective sweatshirt (in one day!). Once I have proper photos of the sweatshirt and test out the Bookman reflectors, I’ll share more on them. But first, I want to share my Discerning Cyclist product reviews of the Iladora top and pants, now that the pants review is out. Bookman Clip on Reflectors_1I love that the Discerning Cyclist website titled my review, “Are These The Perfect Bike Pants for Ladies?” I wish they were! But is there really such a thing? Probably not. But these are pretty great – just not pants I’d wear to work. I’ve worn them a lot, on the weekends, to go out, to run errands, meeting friends, and, as I said in the review, I met The Mechanic for lunch one day wearing – but after doing yoga in them, just to see if I could (which I could). I confess, they are tight enough that I have realized how, shall we say, out of shape, I’ve gotten this year, since I haven’t been biking 30 miles or more every weekend, so I guess it’s time to ramp up the cardio and cut back a bit on the calories. But because the stretch holds me in, well, I do like how much skinnier I feel in them. The Mechanic likes them too!Iladora Pants 5I like the Iladora Lisa Top, but it is sort of a shame that I got it towards the end of the summer. The weather today was cold enough to make me dig out a hat and gloves, not wear my cute bike top. Very sad. I did get to wear it a few times when it was warm out, which was a great opportunity to test out the quick dry properties of the bamboo fabric. I was really impressed at how well it worked! I know that will be a go-to top next summer for that reason alone! It was extremely comfortable, and cute, and I love the color. Iladora Top 3So now I am outfitted head-to-toe in Iladora Apparel! You can read more about the pants and top on the two Discerning Cyclist website, and see more photos of me in the garments. Iladora also makes a skirt, but I guess two pieces from this line are enough. There are others out there that I want to try as well. I’m still hunting for the perfect bike pants, and there are many possibilities on my list. There are so many companies out there now, which I love. It’s nice to see women creatively solving our problems, and I wish I could support them all! I want to see these companies grow and thrive, and outfit more and more women who are looking for practical yet stylish clothing they can wear casually on their bikes. Eventually it will become as mainstream as going to the Gap or Ann Taylor Loft – at least, that is my dream. Head-to-toe bike fashion, everyday!

Bookman reflector on my jacket cuff - I couldn't wait until it was dark to try it out! Stay tuned for more info on this fun new product!

Bookman reflector on my jacket cuff – I couldn’t wait until it was dark to try it out! Stay tuned for more info on this fun new product!





Let’s Talk #Reflective Fashion

Although I am always happy to talk about reflective bike fashion, a few things converged recently to prompt a post about reflective-ness. A New York Times article, new reflective clips from Bookman, and the Fall time change all mean more ways and reasons to be reflective!

The recent New York Times article, “Go Glam into the Night: For the Bike-to-Work Generation, a Move to Fashionable High Tech Clothing,” explored how bike clothing “grew up” and became “fashionable” by making office-friendly clothing reflective. The article called out a few companies I already adore, like Vespertine NYC and LFlect, others I am familiar with, including Fik:Reflectives and Betabrand, and introduced me to a fun new one, Henrichs (these capes are so adorable! And limited edition pink and glitter reflective ones? Where is my credit card?!).

The Henrichs Cape (Photo courtesy of the Henrichs website)

The Henrichs Cape (Photo courtesy of the Henrichs website)

Women’s fashion sports clothing companies such as Athleta and Lululemon are also adding reflective clothing to their lines. These pieces are made for runners, not cyclists, but there are obvious ways these can crossover. Look at how cool the “Light It Up” reflective skirt from Lululemon is, and the “Scuba Hoodie,” with it’s reflective hood! I love the idea of pulling this skirt over pants or leggings or jeans – not entirely work appropriate, but definitely for biking home from the gym, or a casual evening out. The “In a Flash” sweatshirt I can see wearing to work. Athleta offers a few pairs of running leggings with respectable amounts of reflective trim down the leg, and I can see pulling these on under skirts or dresses to bike home after dark. When we turn our clocks back this weekend, it will be darker earlier, but still not too cold to rule out the skirts, and then these would be perfect.

Lululemon Light It Up Skirt (photo courtesy of Lululemon website)

Lululemon Light It Up Skirt (photo courtesy of Lululemon website)

What I like about these garments is that these designers are finally realizing that gear worn outside, especially in the darker hours, should have a bit more reflectivity than just the token logo on a corner, or on the ankle. Here is an example of what I consider bad reflective trim – this adorable “Cyclocape” from Terry Bicycles has a single line of reflective trim down the center of the back. Although the unbroken line isn’t a bad idea, it doesn’t give any sense of how wide the wearer is, so how much room to give the cyclist, and what if if was covered by a backpack or bag strap?  (Don’t get me wrong, if someone wants to gift this to me, I’d happily test it out!) These black Terry “Metro Crop” pants have reflective trim inside the side slits, so they don’t offer much reflective-ness at all.

Terry Bicycles Cyclocape (photo courtesy of Terry Bicycles website)

Terry Bicycles Cyclocape (photo courtesy of Terry Bicycles website)

Title Nine has a decent collect of clothes with reflective trim, and although this “Slip’n Ride” commuter skirt is another example of questionable print choices, I like that the reflective trim is on the outside hem, right where you want to be visible to a vehicle.  REI’s Novara winter cycling pants have reflective stripes down the entire leg as well – just like my reflective pants!

I love the latest pants I made!

I love the latest pants I made!

I also point all of this out because Time is “falling back” this weekend, and it will be darker longer. Although I don’t believe that us wearing reflective clothing gives drivers license to NOT pay attention to cyclists (and pedestrians) on the road, I don’t think it hurts to be defensive about what we wear either. I wear a bright red coat partially because it shows up better in headlights than a solid black jacket would – the reflective Vespertine belt I wear with it simply helps.

Red coat, reflective trim on skirt, purse - hugging an owl in Copenhagen

Red coat, reflective trim on skirt, purse – hugging an owl in Copenhagen

It is easy to add reflective accessories, less expensive, and perhaps a bit more versatile to have something that can be moved from jacket to shirt to skirt, like the Bookman clips or the options from REI. Or there is always another route – Glimling is a Swedish-American company selling Scandinavian style reflectors that can be attached to purses, backpacks, coat zippers, or panniers. I have several and love them. They are so cute on my purses! Elisabeth, the owner, totally gets the importance of reflective-ness, and loves to share this somewhat staggering statistic – 70% of American pedestrian accidents happen after dark, while in Sweden, the number is much lower, 40%. Adults and children alike in that country wear reflectors – we saw them for sale in bookstores and dollar stores and in the airport when The Mechanic and I were in Denmark and Sweden, too. Check out her blog post with visibility tests.

Assorted reflectors on assorted bags - some I bought in Sweden, some are from Glimling

Assorted reflectors on assorted bags – some I bought in Sweden, some are from Glimling

So what am I saying here? Reflective clothing is going fashionable and mainstream for biking and running, yay! Designers are beginning to figure it out, and maybe by next winter, we’ll see even more. If buying reflective blazers and dresses is not your thing, or you can’t afford to (I know, the cool stuff is always so expensive!), consider accessories with a good amount of reflective coverage, and attach reflectors on strategic points.  The least it can do is make you a bit more visible!